A Proposed Return-to-Sport Program for Patients With Midportion Achilles Tendinopathy: Rationale and Implementation

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2015 Nov;45(11):876-86. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2015.5885. Epub 2015 Sep 21.


Synopsis Achilles tendinopathy is a common overuse injury in athletes involved in running and jumping activities and sports. The intervention with the highest level of evidence is exercise therapy, and it is recommended that all patients initially be treated with exercise for at least 3 months prior to considering other treatment options. Recovery from Achilles tendinopathy can take up to a year, and there is a high propensity for recurrence, especially during the return-to-sport phase. The extent of the tendon injury, the age and sex of the athlete, the magnitude of pain/symptoms, the extent of impairments, and the demands of the sport all need to be considered when planning for return to sport. This clinical commentary describes an approach to return to sport for patients with midportion Achilles tendinopathy. The aim of the return-to-sport program is to facilitate the decision-making process in returning an athlete with midportion Achilles tendinopathy back to full sport participation and to minimize the chances for recurrence of the injury. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2015;45(11):876-886. Epub 21 Sep 2015. doi:10.2519/jospt.2015.5885.

Keywords: Achilles tendon; eccentric; exercise; jumping; running; tendinosis.

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / injuries*
  • Age Factors
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology
  • Athletic Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Recurrence
  • Return to Sport*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Tendinopathy / physiopathology
  • Tendinopathy / rehabilitation*